12 Music Stars Who Performed For Presidents

Beyoncé, Fifth Harmony, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and many others have performed for POTUS.

Written by Emilee Lindner • February 20, 2017

Fleetwood Mac 

Fleetwood Mac hadn’t played together since 1982, but when they learned that Bill Clinton was such a huge fan, they reunited to play at his Inauguration Gala in 1993, coming together for the country.

Jessica Simpson

George W. Bush had a bevy of people performing at his Inauguration in 2001. From Ricky Martin to 98 Degrees (a request from his daughter), Jessica Simpson was just one of the acts on the stage in Washington, D.C.

Beyoncé

A close friend to the Obama’s, Beyonce campaigned hard for Barack Obama, rallying strongly for his second term, hosting fundraising dinners, attending his birthday parties and appearing at various events. Everyone rembembers her rendition of "Star-Spangled Banner" at Obama’s 2013 Inauguration, but don't forget her stunning, emotional performance of “At Last” later that night while Barack and Michelle had their first dance at the Neighborhood Ball.

Linda Ronstadt

As a music lover, Jimmy Carter invited a bunch of acts to his Inauguration in 1977. Linda Ronstadt performed a cover of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy.” Nelson, a friend of Carter, would eventually invite the Carters on stage at his concert 40 years later and even revealed he once smoked weed on the White House roof.

Frank Sinatra

Sinatra stumped heavily for JFK and allowed use of his songs during the campaign. When JFK was elected, Ol’ Blue Eyes played the Inauguration Gala in 1961.

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand promised Bill Clinton that she would play at his Inauguration early in his campaign, and when he won, she held up her end of the deal, belting out “Evergreen” in 1993.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson led the charge at America’s Reunion on the Mall in 1993, mastering the “We Are The World” crew two days before the Inauguration. The next day, he sang "Gone Too Soon" and "Heal the World" for incoming President Clinton.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan took to the National Mall in 1993 to show support for Bill Clinton before his Inauguration, playing “Chimes of Freedom” at one event and then joining with The Band for another event later in the day.

Bruce Springsteen

On the steps of the Lincoln memorial, Bruce Springsteen pulled off a moving performance of “The Rising,” a song about the firefighters on 9/11, with a gospel choir on the eve of Obama’s 2009 Inauguration.

Fifth Harmony

Fifth Harmony sang “Happy Birthday” to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative at the Easter Egg Roll, with the Obama’s behind them in 2015. A year earlier, the fivesome sang “All I Want for Christmas is You” at the White House’s Christmas celebration.

Aretha Franklin

Not only did Aretha Franklin perform at Jimmy Carter’s Inauguration in 1977, but she also joined Michael Jackson to perform for America’s Reunion on the Mall in 1993. Perhaps her most memorable Presidential moment was in 2009 at Obama’s Inauguration, where she sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” on the same steps Martin Luther Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream Speech” 46 years earlier. 

Marilyn Monroe

She's not a music star but she is a legend, and this moment is so well known it had to be included. In Marilyn Monroe’s infamous visit to a Democratic Party fundraiser at New York's Madison Square Garden, the actress whisper-sang a sexy version of “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy, who was turning 45.

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